By: Melina Matthes
OMAHA (kptm) - The speed limit on highway 31 near the Gretna outlet mall could soon be lowered. The city council is working to reduce it from 55 mph to 45 mph.
While Fox 42 News was out there with a sergeant Sunday, the crew saw almost five accidents happen at the intersection of highway 31 and highway 6. The crew even saw one woman do a u-turn while on her cell phone.
The sergeant said speed isn't really the issue; it's the increase of shoppers, making the intersection congested. In addition, the light has two green arrows on at the same time.
"It's forward thinking to try to eliminate the possibility of a bad accident at this intersection. The sheriff's office fully supports that measure," Sergeant Rob Hillabrand said.
He said the intersection outside Nebraska Crossing is dangerous. Drivers leaving the mall can legally make a u-turn on green at the intersection of highway 31 and highway 6. However when the arrow is lit, so is the turning arrow off highway 6, causing cars to nearly collide. "You have a designated green turn arrow and there is no "no u-turn" sign, I believe that gives people false confidence to think that they're safe to make the u-turn, not realizing that the traffic on highway 6 also has a designated turn arrow and they have the same way of thinking," Hillabrand said.
He said the sheriff's department also worries about the highway's high speed limit. The Gretna city council wants to lower it. "The speed limit from 55 to 45 is more of a precautionary measure because the problem also is the traffic that is going to be making a u-turn here on a solid green, the south bound traffic onto highway 31 also would have a solid green light and those speeds will be 55 mph, so we have the potential for a horrific accident," Hillabrand said.
He hopes in the mean time, drivers just pay more attention. "Just common courtesy. Use your turn signals and just be aware of your surroundings and other traffic, you're not the only car on the road."
The Gretna city council sent a letter to the Nebraska Department of Roads requesting the speed limit is lowered. The Roads Department has the final say because the road is a state highway.
The city council also asked the Roads Department to reduce the speed limit at the intersection of highway 370 and highway 6, as well as asked for the installation of a left turn signal at highway 370 and 204th street.
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